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I started this blog as I entered my 40th year, and now firmly in my 40s, I continue to learn so much about life. I'm learning that life rarely goes according to plan and that there's something new to learn every single day, be it a subtle nudge or a smack in the face.... This is my blog about muddling through my 40s-working hard, writing a book, being an ammateur photographer, trying to exercise and eat well, endeavouring to be the world's best aunt, as well as having fun and laughing out loud every single day.

Monday, October 19, 2015

#81 Cool Running

In 2005, Kylie Minogue was forced to cancel her Showgirl tour when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I could never understand why she seemed to rush back to work and finish her tour when her body and mind had been through something as gruelling as cancer treatment - surely she had enough money, right?



I attended one of her first concerts after her comeback and she struggled. She took longer breaks between songs. She had an intermission. And she continually drank some murky dark green concoction from a drink bottle. I just couldn't understand why she would do that to herself, until someone loaned me a copy of her White Diamond documentary.

In it, she spoke about the psychological importance of "finishing what I started." And then I understood.

In October 2009, I began training for my first marathon. I found the most divine running coach whose name is Alan McCoskey. Al would come and knock on my door early on Saturday mornings and he taught me to run. By January I was running 10km and by March, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Running stopped for a while and even when I was able to run again,  was so deconditioned that it literally took years before I could run 10kms again.

This year marked my 5th year of being cancer free and after years of being anxiety ridden about whether or not my cancer would ever return, I reached a wonderful place of calm. Cancer is in my past. I don't worry about it coming back anymore. I am well. I am strong.

And just like Kylie, I needed to prove that to myself once and for all, by finishing what I started - a marathon (well, a half-marathon - come on, I am 43!). Because I was well and healthy before I got sick, I felt as though I needed to be able to physically do something to prove that I am at least as well as I was back then. I needed to run.

I have been doing shorter runs for a couple of years now, with periods of injury and laziness. I've slowly built up my fitness and endurance (not my speed!) and this October (yesterday in fact), I achieved my goal by running my first half marathon in Melbourne. And it was nothing short of wonderful.

The conditions were perfect - still and calm - we ran up St Kilda Road through tree lined streets with only the sound of the occasional voice and cheers, and the pounding of 11,500 sets of feet. As we made our way around Albert Park Lake, I caught myself thinking twice (once at 4km and the other at 14km) that my mind was clear. I wasn't thinking. I was being. And it was liberating.

I loved every second of the first 19km and I hated the last 2km - I'd hit a bit of a wall because I didn't use my last gel pack because my tummy was a bit upset and I didn't want to risk it. I visualised lollies everywhere and was craving sugar like you wouldn't believe.

When we ran into the MCG, I took the time to look around and drink it in - I was running on the MCG! But as I got to the finish line, I didn't hear my friends cheering sadly, as I was too focussed on looking for the fruit stand beyond the finish line!

Was I in pain? Sure thing, but nothing like I'd anticipated. Am I stiff and sore today? Only a little. Was it worth it and will I do another one? Oh yeah! I cannot wait and am already planning on a little run this week.

Running frees me. And I plan to do it for as long as I can. Another bucket list item ticked off! What's your next goal?

Here are some photos from my run including some supportive notes from some wonderful runners and friends.

From the most mindful man I know - Mark!

From my fabulous friend and singing running buddy - Mel
Preparing the night before the big race

Me at about the 19km mark with fabulous Melbourne in the background

Running in the MCG right before the finish line - I'm the one at the back
The ever supportive Nat who flew down from Sydney to run and cheer me on

Proof - slow and steady finishes the race!



4 comments:

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